Residential Tenancies – What Landlords Need To Know
Moving into a new property can be a busy and exciting time. However, with house prices continuing to rise renting a residential property is becoming a popular alternative for many people and demand is increasing. If you decide renting a property is a suitable option, it is important that as either a tenant or landlord you are legally protected.
When you rent a property, it is preferable that a tenancy agreement is in place between the tenant and landlord. A tenancy agreement is a legal contract between you both and allows the tenant to legally live in the rented property. It also makes it clear whether there is a deposit payable and if so, how much and how it will be protected; the agreed rent and when this is payable, the length of the term of the tenancy and how both parties can bring the tenancy to an end.
As a tenant you have the right to:-
- Live in a property that’s safe and in a good state of repair.
- Have your deposit returned when the tenancy ends.
- Know who your landlord is.
- Live in the property undisturbed.
- See an Energy Performance Certificate and gas and electrical certificates (where applicable) for the property.
- Be protected from unfair eviction and unfair rent.
- Challenge excessively high charges.
And are responsible for:-
- Taking good care of the property.
- Paying the agreed rent, even if repairs are needed or you are dispute with your landlord.
- Paying other charges as agreed with the landlord for example Council Tax.
- Repairing or paying for any damage caused by you.
- Only subletting the property if your tenancy agreement permits it.
- Only keeping animals in the property where this has been agreed with the landlord.
Paying the deposit
As the tenant you will most likely have to pay a deposit and the amount you pay will be agreed with your landlord before you move in. Your landlord is responsible for putting your deposit into a government approved tenancy deposit protection scheme (TDP).
This will protect you and keep your money safe, and it will make sure you get back what you are owed when you move out of the property, if you have:-
- looked after the property.
- paid your rent and bills.
- met the terms of the tenancy agreement.
At the end of your tenancy the landlord must:-
- Return your deposit within 10 days of you both agreeing how much of the deposit is to be returned.
Dispute between landlords and tenants
If for any reason a tenant is in dispute with the landlord, the tenant’s deposit is protected in the TDP until the dispute is resolved. The TDP offers a free dispute resolution service, where tenants and landlords agree about how much deposit should be returned. Both the tenant and landlord have to agree to use the service, and evidence must be provided before a decision is made.
Hints and Tips to renting a residential property, ensure: –
- you have a signed tenancy agreement in place between the tenant and landlord.
- as the tenant you look after the property and pay the rent and any bills due.
- that your money is deposited by the landlord into an approved tenancy deposit protection scheme
- the tenant and landlord maintain communication when notice is given, and the tenant moves out. Jointly agree the amount of the deposit that will be returned to you.
- Where a tenant and landlord are in dispute, aim to use the free dispute resolution service offered by the TDP scheme where the money is deposited.
Information for Landlords
Tenancy deposit protection is a requirement of the Housing Act 2004. Landlords wanting to implement a section 21 notice after 6 April 2007, in order to end the tenancy, must have protected their tenants’ deposit within 30 days after it was paid by the tenant. Failure to do this will result in the Landlord having to pay the deposit back to their tenants before being able to serve the section 21 notice. Please note that landlords who fail to properly secure the deposit in a TDP could face a financial penalty of up to three-times the deposit amount.
As well as protecting the deposit, landlords musts also provide the tenant with a ‘prescribed information’ document about the property and deposit. This document includes a leaflet explaining how TDP works for both landlords and tenants entering in and agreeing a new tenancy. This information must be provided within 30 days of receiving the deposit from the tenant.
If you require further legal advice regarding your residential tenancy, please contact Lucy Milton-Downes at Solstice Legal Services Limited on 0330 133 4165 or email@example.com.